EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for March 13, 2012
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Fred Barnes, who is nothing if not plugged in to the thinking of leading Beltway Republicans, looks at how the Congressional GOP plans to work with the presidential nominee. . . .
Even considering the fact that McConnell has to play coy due to the fact that there’s as yet no nominee, you will notice what is missing in this picture: the idea that the nominee himself, now most likely Mitt Romney, will have any ideas of his own to which Congressional Republicans will have to accommodate themselves. This is part of a broader pattern: outside of the party’s most moderate precincts – where Romney is seen as a bulwark against conservatives – Republicans who have resigned themselves to Romney have done so, more or less, on the theory that he can be brought around to do things the party’s various constituencies want him to do. This is the opposite of the thing we normally look for in a president: leadership in setting the agenda of the party and the country. As such, it represents an experiment, or at least a throwback to the late-19th century model of how the presidency operates. Can the GOP beat Barack Obama and run the country the next four years without presidential leadership?
Here’s a headline you won’t see in the media this week: we incurred the largest monthly deficit on record in February.
Seven months into a government “reined in” by the Budget Control Act, we are supposed to be reaping the benefits of budget reduction. Yet, according to CBO, we incurred a gargantuan $232 billion deficit in the month of February. The conservative Washington Times was the only publication to note that this was the largest monthly deficit on record. Keep in mind that we didn’t start accruing annual deficits of $230 billion until this past decade. The preliminary estimates from CBO projected outlays at $335 billion and revenues at $103 billion. Our total deficit for the first 5 months of fiscal year 2012 is $631 billion ($869 billion in revenue; $1.5 trillion in outlays).
Think for a moment about what it means to spend $335 billion in 29 days. It comes out to $11.5 billion per day; $480 million per hour. So the next time Congress deliberates over a few billion in spending cuts over the course of a month, remember that we will add several hundred billion more in debt during the course of the debate.
When Orrin Hatch ran for the United States Senate the first time, he campaigned against then Democratic Senator Frank Moss. Hatch traveled Utah asking and answering a simple question: “What do you call a Senator who’s served in office for 18 years?” “You call him home,” he said.
That was thirty-six years ago. Orrin Hatch beat Frank Moss and has been in the United States Senate ever since. This week, voters in Utah will begin the process of deciding whether or not it is time to call Orrin Hatch home, having served twice as long as the Senator he decided to challenge successfully in 1976.
I was one when Orrin Hatch beat Frank Moss. He is the longest serving Utah Senator. He is, for those of us who started paying attention to politics in the 1980?s, a seminal figure in late twentieth century American politics. From his seat in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hatch’s face has been a visible presence in American homes for decades.
Each time I have met Orrin Hatch, I’ve come away liking the man. But were I in Utah this week, I’d want to do as he wanted to do thirty-six years ago and call him home.
The left is fear-mongering on the issue of the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on 17 nominees today and the left was quick to parrot the Reid talking points claiming Republican “obstruction” of these nominees. The fact of the matter is that there is no filibuster and Reid is merely setting the table so he can make hysterical arguments about Republican obstructionism.
Republicans, nor Democrats, have uttered one word of debate on any of these nominations. There is no filibuster going on right now and there never was. This is a fake filibuster created by Reid.
At a time when Republicans of all stripes are calling for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, one Republican continues to stand by his side.
Meet Jon Bruning, candidate for U.S. Senate and the sitting Attorney General for Nebraska.
Last week, we learned that Bruning lobbied the Senate to support Holder during his confirmation process. As President-Elect of the National Association of Attorneys General in 2009, Bruning co-signed two letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee praising Holder for his “fairness and balance” and urged members to confirm him. Bruning wrote: “We believe that Mr. Holder has the knowledge and experience necessary to run the Department of Justice and work with us to enforce our laws.”
Bruning of course was not alone in this. There were other Republicans who signed these letters, and some Republican Senators voted to confirm him. But many Republicans also opposed him – and importantly… for those who didn’t, they now understand how bad Eric Holder is and would likely admit they made a mistake.
But not Jon Bruning.